August 20, 2017
Pastor Mark Bradshaw
“It is not fair to take from the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”
I think we can safely assume that our Lord is tired.
John had lost his head, and now Jesus has lost his cool.
And who can blame him, everytime he tries to get away for some quiet someone sees him, and before long there is a crowd pressing in.
The people are desperate and in need and Jesus is full of compassion and God has made it evident that through Jesus healing flows. Then one day Jesus decides he needs to get up and go, head to the coast and outside of the borders of Israel where he can enjoy that sweet Mediterranean breeze, put his feet in the sand and watch the sunset. Perhaps Jesus was feeling overwhelmed, weary under the weight of it all. The more people he healed the more aware he became of how many were still in need. For every lost sheep that our Good Shepherd carried back into the fold there seemed to be two new wolves, ready to devour. And so Jesus, feeling hemmed in, goes on a retreat. Jesus decides to practice a little self care, hoping for a certain level of anonymity. Yet, and notice this, whereas Jesus was seeking to find refreshment and renewal outside of his borders geographically, God sends someone to Jesus who is outside of his ethnic and social borders in order to get him back on track. To put it bluntly, God sends his Son a woman to set him straight… to expand his borders… to increase his imagination… to broaden his perspective.
In the television industry, it really has become a type of art to recap the previous episodes of a season, often in only 1-2 minutes, as a means of bringing the viewer up to speed. The current episode plays a specific role within the overall story and the reason for the opening recap is to refresh the audience’s memory as to how it relates to a few specific strands within the overall story line.
Now, at first glance it is surprising that this morning’s Gospel made it past the final edits. Any of you wish this was a deleted scene, clearly out of character for Jesus? And yet, as we may be standing here scratching our heads the observant disciple will discover that there is a trail of breadcrumbs that has been left for us to follow.
So here it is, our opening recap:
Jesus appointed how many disciples?
The women with the bleeding infirmary, who reached out and touched the hems of Jesus’ robe and was healed – how many years had she been sick?
That happened while Jesus was on his way to heal a young girl who was how many years old?
Okay, are you picking up what Matthew is shoveling? So, why 12?
- 12 tribes of Israel.
So, in our Gospel this morning we heard Jesus’ words, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
And right after Jesus learns of John’s death he goes away to try and be alone and the crowds follow, he teaches them and then does not want to send them away hungry. With five loaves and two fishes how many people are fed? And here is the bonus question – how many basketfuls are left over?
Are we getting the point yet with 12?
Now, perhaps it is not too much of a stretch to think of the 12 basketfuls of broken pieces as the crumbs that were leftover, one for each tribe. I am picking up on a theme of abundance.
Okay, one last theme in our episode intro, this would have been our Gospel reading from last week – and I don’t know about you but I was more than happy to have Abbey veer off from the lectionary and give us her message! Yet, in the story of Jesus walking on water, summoning Peter to come and walk with him, I would have the cameras zoom in on Peter sinking as Jesus extends a hand and says, my paraphrase, “Man, you have such little faith!”
Okay, who is still with me? Did I lose anyone?
Jesus sets off for the coast, outside of Israel, he is tired and I imagine the Pharisees have really gotten under his skin, and then she shows up. A Canaanite, that godless group of people who inhabited the land before Israel came in and conquered it. A Canaanite woman, nonetheless, and she is desperate. Her daughter is tormented by a demon and she begins crying out for Jesus’ attention. “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. Jesus just ignores her. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” Lord, just send her away.
Last week Abbey shared with us a profound poem by the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray. Much of what I am about to share I gleaned from an article in the New Yorker written in April of this year. Pauli Murray, born in 1910, was ahead of her time. She sat in the wrong seat on the bus, participated in nonviolent demonstrations, and advocated for the equal treatment of all persons several decades before the civil rights movement. She began her life as an orphan and culminated it by becoming the first African American woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest. In high school, she was the only black among 4,000 students. She applied to the University of North Carolina and was denied admission because she had the wrong color of skin. Later she was denied admission to Harvard Law because she had the wrong gender.
While studying at Howard University Pauli was no longer excluded for the color of her skin but rather due to the fact that she had the unfortunate condition of being born a woman. She was the only woman among faculty and students and on the first day of class her professor was all too eager to humiliate her by remarking that he could think of no reason why a woman would desire to attend Law school. Thus, not only did Pauli resolve to become the top student in her class, which she was, but she also grew in her determination to end what she termed Jane Crow.
While at Howard a class discussion arose on how to best end Jim Crow. Plessy vs. Ferguson, the case that upheld segregation, used the phrase “separate but equal.” The class conversation was focused on the term “equal” and the men scoffed when Pauli dared to question the term “separate.” She proceeded to bet her professor $10 that within 25 years Plessy vs. Ferguson would be overturned, Pauli was right. But her law-school professor, Spottswood Robinson, would come to owe Pauli much more than $10. Pauli would go on to argue in her final law school paper that segregation violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. Years later Spottswood Robinson remembered Pauli’s paper and presented it to Thurgood Marshall and the remainder of his colleagues, the same group who successfully argued Brown vs. the Board of Education.
Now, I would like to propose that Spottswood Robinson and Jesus of Nazareth both share something revolutionary in common. It is not that they both devoted themselves to the cause of justice, nor that they both were committed to advocating for those who society had discounted. Rather, what was revolutionary about these men, and worthy of emulation, is that they both were willing to eat crow. They both were willing to not only admit, but seemingly revel in the fact that a woman had set them straight.
Stepping back into our Gospel, up until this point we have grown accustomed to Jesus being the one who stumps the religious leaders, but in our Gospel this morning it this unnamed Canaanite woman who stumps Jesus. “It is not fair to take from the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” “Yes Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table.” She does not play the victim, she does not need to make Jesus into the villain. Rather, she takes what Jesus gives her and uses it to stump him. She gets creative. – Jesus, isn’t it God’s table, and isn’t God a God of abundance? Jesus, your reference point is this group of children and you are wondering if there is going to be enough for them. My reference point is the merciful God who created us all, and all I need is a crumb from God’s table and my daughter will be made well. Jesus, isn’t your God bigger than that? And, move over Peter, Jesus looks at this woman and says, “Wow, how great is your faith.”
Back in that classroom at Howard University, as those young black men were debating what it means to be treated as equals, the one thing seemingly all men in power held in common, black and white, was that women were not equals. And if it has become hauntingly clear in the recent weeks that we have so much more to overcome for racial equality, let us equally remember how much more we must overcome for gender equality.
And just how many people were fed? Was it 5,000? Matthew makes a point of saying “5,000 besides women and children.” So, who was it that decided the women and the children did not count? If 15-20,000 children of God ate and were filled on that afternoon, who decided it was only the men who count? It wasn’t God.
God counts those the world counts out.
God counts those who men discount.
We can count on that.
Take a self-guided Walking Tour of the African American History of Pasadena. Audio descriptions of the sites visited are available by scanning this code with your cell phone:
Or by visiting the link above.
Originally conceived by the NAACP Pasadena Branch as a bus tour, this version, as a self-guided walking tour, was co-created by the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition (PasCSC) and the NAACP for “Walktober 2020.” Walktober is an annual event organized and promoted by PasCSC to get people walking in Pasadena! In February 2021, Day One, another local non-profit organization, received a grant from America Walks to add voice recordings to this tour. We thank Allen Edson for lending his voice and Tony Arratia for his audio editing.
PasCSC and Day One are honored to partner with the NAACP Pasadena Branch to host this self-guided “Walking Tour of the African American History of Pasadena.” Without the contributions of the elders of the NAACP Pasadena Branch and FAME Senior Ministry, this tour would not exist. We are also grateful to America Walks for their support.
This tour consists of 14 locations primarily in North West Pasadena, centering on individuals and events of historical significance to the African American Community, which also provides Pasadena its rich history. We encourage you to look around as you walk and review the notes and photos that accompany the voice recordings for the locations on this tour.
The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition, Day One, and America Walks are all deeply committed to walking. Whether you walk for physical health, mental health, to meet people, to see new things, or simply to get things done, we recognize and celebrate that as an excellent activity.
We also recognize that streets are not safe until we are all safe. Therefore, we must commit to ensuring that all Black lives matter. We call on City Council, the Pasadena Department of Transportation, and all people who walk, to support policies and practices that make our streets places where people of all ages, abilities, and identities can walk safely and comfortably.
We hope you enjoy the tour.
(reposted from History.com) By 1900, the unwritten color line barring Black players from white teams in professional baseball was strictly enforced. Jackie Robinson, a sharecropper’s son from Georgia, joined the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League in 1945 after a stint in the U.S. Army (he earned an honorable discharge after facing a court-martial for refusing to move to the back of a segregated bus). His play caught the attention of Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who had been considering bringing an end to segregation in baseball. Rickey signed Robinson to a Dodgers farm team that same year and two years later moved him up, making Robinson the first African American player to play on a major league team.
Robinson played his first game with the Dodgers on April 15, 1947; he led the National League in stolen bases that season, earning Rookie of the Year honors. Over the next nine years, Robinson compiled a .311 batting average and led the Dodgers to six league championships and one World Series victory. Despite his success on the field, however, he encountered hostility from both fans and other players. Members of the St. Louis Cardinals even threatened to strike if Robinson played; baseball commissioner Ford Frick settled the question by threatening to suspend any player who went on strike.
After Robinson’s historic breakthrough, baseball was steadily integrated, with professional basketball and tennis following suit in 1950. His groundbreaking achievement transcended sports, and as soon as he signed the contract with Rickey, Robinson became one of the most visible African Americans in the country, and a figure that Black people could look to as a source of pride, inspiration and hope. As his success and fame grew, Robinson began speaking out publicly for Black equality. In 1949, he testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee to discuss the appeal of Communism to Black Americans, surprising them with a ferocious condemnation of the racial discrimination embodied by the Jim Crow segregation laws of the South: “The white public should start toward real understanding by appreciating that every single Negro who is worth his salt is going to resent any kind of slurs and discrimination because of his race, and he’s going to use every bit of intelligence…to stop it…”
(from Atlas Obscura) THOUGH HALL OF FAME BASEBALL star Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia, he spent his formative years in Pasadena, attending John Muir High School and Pasadena Junior College in the city. And while Jackie’s exploits as the man who broke baseball’s color barrier are understandably more well-known, his brother Mack also made sports history during the 1936 Olympic Games, taking the Silver Medal in the 200 meter sprint, behind teammate Jesse Owens.
This memorial then, pays tribute to both of the Robinson brothers. Jackie looks towards Brooklyn, NY, to symbolize the destiny waiting for him 2,800 miles to the east. His elder brother Mack, who returned home to little fanfare and a city job which was later taken from him in retaliation for black residents going to court to force the desegregation of municipal pools, faces towards City Hall, reflecting his complicated relationship with his home town.
Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme.
The Black History Month 2021 theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” explores the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States.
READ MORE: Black History Milestones
(from ASALH) The black family has been a topic of study in many disciplines—history, literature, the visual arts and film studies, sociology, anthropology, and social policy. Its representation, identity, and diversity have been reverenced, stereotyped, and vilified from the days of slavery to our own time.
The black family knows no single location, since family reunions and genetic-ancestry searches testify to the spread of family members across states, nations, and continents. Not only are individual black families diasporic, but Africa and the diaspora itself have been long portrayed as the black family at large.
While the role of the black family has been described by some as a microcosm of the entire race, its complexity as the “foundation” of African American life and history can be seen in numerous debates over how to represent its meaning and typicality from a historical perspective—as slave or free, as patriarchal or matriarchal/matrifocal, as single-headed or dual-headed household, as extended or nuclear, as fictive kin or blood lineage, as legal or common law, and as black or interracial, etc. Variation appears, as well, in discussions on the nature and impact of parenting, childhood, marriage, gender norms, sexuality, and incarceration. The family offers a rich tapestry of images for exploring the African American past and present.
The links below are of the documentary THE BLACK CHURCH: THIS IS OUR STORY, THIS IS OUR SONG by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (with appearances of Bishop Michael Curry).
From Absalom Jones and Richard Allen to Black Lives Matter and Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church
We had a watching party and it was powerful! Use the links or scan the QR code with your smartphone or tablet to watch!
Please support by watching, posting and forwarding!
January 26, 2021
PASADENA, Calif.—The City of Pasadena is celebrating Black History Month by recognizing the achievements and contributions of Black Americans and their central role in our nation’s history with virtual programs, events, and activities for all ages. Pasadena Public Library; the Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department; and the Pasadena Black History Committee are offering a month-long series of programs in February. Library programming is sponsored by The Friends of the Pasadena Public Library. The Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department and Pasadena Black History Committee are holding events in lieu of Pasadena’s 39th Annual Black History Month Parade and Festival.
FOR ALL AGES
- Reading Activity – Black History Month Reading Challenge
Pasadena Public Library highlights Black history and Black creators this month with a special Black History Month challenge. This just-for-fun, month-long reading challenge starts Feb. 1. Participate by logging your reading, posting reviews, and attending some of our virtual programs! Sign up now.
- Community Activity – Support Black Owned Businesses | Monday, Feb. 1-28 • Throughout Pasadena
Everyone is encouraged to support local Black-owned businesses. View a list of businesses.
- Family Activity – African and African American Tales with Storyteller Michael D. McCarty | Thursday, Feb. 11, 4 p.m. • Zoom
Storyteller Michael D. McCarty entertains and educates with tales from Africa and of African Americans that depict the challenges and triumphs of Black people throughout history. Perfect for families! Sign up now.
- History Activity – Pasadena People, Places and Events Shaped by African Americans | Monday, Feb. 15-Friday, Feb. 19
Take a virtual tour with local community members as they provide information on landmarks, educational institutions, sports, business and other areas impacted by Black Pasadenans. Visit www.cityofpasadena.net/parks-and-rec for more information and to sign up.
- Music Activity – Jungle Drum Circle with Chazz Ross | Monday, Feb. 22, 2 p.m. • Zoom
Celebrate Black History Month with Chazz Ross’s Jungle Drum-Circle performance. Enjoy an amazing percussion show with African Djembe drums and learn about their history. Drawing on 40 years of experience in African music and dance, Chazz delivers an exciting performance for all ages. Sign up now.
- Music Activity – Celebrity DJ Dance Party | Saturday, Feb. 27, 5-10 p.m. • Facebook & Instagram
Playing sounds from the 1960s through the 2000s virtually. Livestream available on Facebook and Instagram. Visit www.cityofpasadena.net/parks-and-rec for more information and to sign up.
- Adult Activity – Storytime for Grownups | Mondays, 4 p.m. • Instagram Live
Find a comfy chair and settle in on Instagram Live @pasadenalibrary as we read aloud from classic works by African American authors. Get lit(erature)!
- Book Discussion – Hastings Branch Book Chit Chat: “The Vanishing Half” | Tuesday, Feb. 2, 6:30 p.m. • Zoom
Join us as we discuss “The Vanishing Half” by author Brit Bennet. Sign up now.
- Booktalk – African American Mystery and Crime Writers | Wednesday, Feb. 3, 4 p.m. • Zoom
African American authors Rachel Howzell Hall (“And Now She’s Gone”), Pamela Samuels Young (“Murder on the Down Low”), and Gary Phillips (“Warlord of Willow Ridge”) will share their writing journeys. Sign up now.
- Book Discussion – Allendale Book Discussion: “Invisible Man” | Thursday, Feb. 4, 10:30 a.m. • Zoom
We will be meeting online to discuss “Invisible Man” by author Ralph Ellison. Sign up now.
- Book Discussion – Virtual Hill Avenue Book Club: “Lakewood” | Saturday, Feb. 6, 10:30 a.m. • Zoom
Join us online as we discuss “Lakewood” by Megan Giddings. Copies are available through hoopla using your Pasadena Public Library card. Sign up now.
- Adult Activity – African American Poetry | Tuesday, Feb. 9, 11 a.m. • Zoom
The Pasadena Rose Poets will present the poetry of African American poets past and present, along with some of their own poetry. Presented by Teresa Mei Chuc, Kate Gale, Hazel Clayton Harrison, Gerda Govine Ituarte, Shahé Mankerian, Toni Mosley, Carla Sameth and Annette Wong. Sign up now.
- Lecture – Fatphobia as Anti-Blackness: The Origins of Weight Stigma | Wednesday, Feb. 10, 5 p.m. • Zoom
The medical establishment tells us that we are in an “obesity epidemic” and that Black people—and Black women especially—should lose weight. But, is this rooted in health concerns? In this presentation, Sabrina Strings, associate professor of sociology at University of California, Irvine, will show that the aversion to fatness is not rooted in medical concerns; rather, it dates back to slavery. Moreover, even the medical field is implicated in its racist and sexist origins. Sign up now.
- Booktalk – “The Moor’s Account” by author Laila Lalami | Thursday, Feb. 11, 5 p.m. • Zoom
Author Laila Lalami will discuss her novel “The Moor’s Account,” a fictional memoir of Estebanico, widely considered to be the first Black explorer of America, the Moroccan slave who survived the Narvaez expedition and accompanied Cabeza de Vaca. His tale illuminates the ways in which our narratives can transmigrate into history, and how storytelling can offer a chance at redemption and survival. Lalami was born in Rabat and educated in Morocco, Great Britain and the United States. She is the author of four novels, including “The Moor’s Account,” which won the American Book Award, the Arab-American Book Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. Her most recent novel, “The Other Americans,” was a national bestseller and a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and the National Book Award in fiction. She is a full professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside and lives in Los Angeles. Her new book, a work of nonfiction called “Conditional Citizens,” was published by Pantheon in September 2020. Sign up now.
- Lecture – 200 Years of Black Pioneers in Pasadena and Los Angeles | Wednesday, Feb. 17, 4 p.m. • Zoom
Many people don’t realize how deep the roots are that the African American community has in Southern California. This talk explores the stories, some little known, of half a dozen pioneering, local individuals and communities.
- The Pobladores, the original 1781 settlers of the Pueblo of Los Angeles, over half of whom had some African blood
- Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of California, of African and Mestizo ancestry
- Biddy Mason, a midwife, who went from newly freed slave to one of the largest commercial landowners in Los Angeles within 20 years
- The original African American settlers of Pasadena, who quickly formed a vibrant, tightly-knit community here by the early 1900s
- Paul R. Williams, the first licensed African American architect west of the Mississippi
- Jackie Robinson, who starred in four sports at John Muir High School, PCC, and UCLA, and went on to become the first African American player in major league baseball
Presented by Dave Nufer, a program developer, researcher, and docent for Pasadena Heritage and The LA Conservancy. He has previously given talks at the library on “Hispanic Influences on California Architecture,” and “The Asian Roots of Pasadena’s Arts and Crafts Architecture.” Sign up now.
- Booktalk – “Heaven, My Home” by Attica Locke | Thursday, Feb. 18, 5 p.m. • Zoom
Author Attica Locke will discuss her latest novel “Heaven, My Home” (September 2019), the sequel to Edgar Award-winning “Bluebird, Bluebird,” and share her writing journey as an African American writer. “Heaven, My Home” is a Pasadena Public Library 2021 One City, One Story nominee. Her third novel, “Pleasantville,” was the winner of the Harper Lee Prize for legal fiction and was also long-listed for the Bailey’s Prize for women’s fiction. “The Cutting Season” was the winner of the Ernest Gaines Award for literary excellence. Her first novel, “Black Water Rising,” was nominated for an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, as well as a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was short-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. A former fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Feature Filmmaker’s Lab, Locke works as a screenwriter as well. Most recently, she was a writer and producer on Netflix’s When They See Us and the upcoming Hulu adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere. A native of Houston, Texas, Attica lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. Sign up now.
- Booktalk – An American Journey – A Legacy of Freedom and Slavery | Friday, Feb. 26, 5 p.m. • Zoom
Monticello, once the home of Thomas Jefferson and 400 enslaved men, women and children, is a testament to America’s legacy of freedom and slavery. Join us as Gayle Jessup White, a descendant of Jefferson and two of the families he enslaved, discusses her decades-long journey tracing her family’s oral tradition connecting her to Jefferson. A book about her life-long journey will be published by HarperCollins in the fall of 2021. White is also Monticello’s first public relations and community engagement officer. Sponsored by the Hastings Branch Library Associates. Sign up now.
- Booktalk – “Partners to History: Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and the Civil Rights Movement” by Donzaleigh Abernathy | Saturday, Feb. 27, 2-4 p.m. • Zoom
Donzaleigh Abernathy, an American actress, author and civil rights activist, will discuss her book, “Partners to History: Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and the Civil Rights Movement.” The book is a tribute and testament to the courage, strength and endurance of Martin Luther King, Ralph David Abernathy, Sr. and those involved in the civil rights movement—men who stirred a nation with their moral fortitude. Abernathy is the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Ralph Abernathy, Sr. and Juanita Jones Abernathy, who was quite famous for being actively involved in the creation and strategies of the civil rights movement and in present-day civil and human rights efforts until her death on Sept. 12, 2019. Sign up now.
- Teen Activity – Sketches & More | Wednesday, Feb. 17, 4 p.m. • Zoom
For teens, join us for a virtual guided art session inspired by Black History Month with staff from the Armory Center for the Arts. Supplies available if needed. Sign up now.
- Teen Activity – Paint With Us | Wednesday, Feb. 24, 4 p.m. • Zoom
Join us for a painting tutorial inspired by Black History Month. Supplies available for pickup if needed. View the livestream at www.youtube.com/user/pasadenalibrary. For teens ages 12-18. Sign up now.
- Tween Activity – Windows and Mirrors Book Club | Wednesday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m. • Zoom
5th – 7th graders meet online to discuss a contemporary realistic middle grade book about kids with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Maybe you’ll see yourself in one of these kids, or maybe you’ll get a window into the lives of others! This month’s book is “A Good Kind of Trouble” by Lisa Moore Ramée. We’ll talk about the book’s themes of civil rights, social justice and activism. Sign up now.
- Family Activity – Telling Tales with Nick Smith
Join library staffer and storyteller Nick Smith as he shares a mix of folktales and historical pieces about African Americans. Find these stories, and more on the library’s You Tube Channel. This collection of stories is perfect for school age kids and their families, and is available 24/7 on demand. Presented in partnership with Pasadena Media.
- Children’s Activity – Celebrate Black History Month with Social Media Storytime
Enjoy books by African American creators.
- Preschool Storytime | Monday, Feb. 1, 10:30 a.m. • Facebook
Join us on Facebook at facebook.com/pasadenalibrary. For ages 3-5 and their caregivers.
- Toddler Storytime | Tuesday, Feb. 2, 10:30 a.m. • Instagram Live
Join us on Instagram Live @pasadenalibrary. For ages 18-36 months and their caregivers.
- Preschool Storytime | Thursday, Feb. 4, 3 p.m. • Instagram Live
Join us on Instagram Live at @pasadenalibrary. For ages 3-5 and their caregivers.
- Preschool Storytime | Monday, Feb. 1, 10:30 a.m. • Facebook
- Signs ‘n Storytime | Friday, Feb. 5, 4 p.m. • Instagram Live
A fun storytime featuring a few American Sign Language (ASL) signs to learn. Join us on Instagram Live @pasadenalibrary.
- Children’s Activity – STEAM Story Time | Thursday, Feb. 11, 11 a.m. • Facebook
Miss Monica reads the NCTE Charlotte Huck Award winner, “I Am Every Good Thing,” by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James. Join us on Facebook at facebook.com/pasadenalapintoresca.
- Children’s Activity – Preschool Storytime: Celebrating Black Families | Wednesday, Feb. 17, 10:30 a.m. • Zoom
Join us as we share family-friendly stories and songs. For ages 3-5. Sign up now.
- Children’s Activity – Chocolate Storytime | Friday, Feb. 26, 4 p.m. • Facebook
An afternoon of storytelling and village building, featuring stories authored by and/or about African Americans. Join us on Facebook at facebook.com/pasadenalapintoresca as Dr. Ayesha Randall reads a book celebrating the culture of Black Americans. For ages 3+.
- Make Your Own Paper Freedom Quilt Squares | Monday, Feb. 1, 9 a.m. • While supplies last
Learn a bit about freedom quilts and then create your own paper quilt square to be a part of the Lamanda Community Freedom Quilt displayed in the library’s windows. Quilt squares must be picked up and returned to Lamanda Park Branch Library. Sign up to reserve your kit starting Feb. 1. Available while supplies last. For ages 5-12.
- Linda Vista Decorative Arts: Take and Make Fabric Quilt Block | Monday, Feb. 8, 9 a.m. • While supplies last
Make a small fabric quilt block to celebrate one of the oldest forms of African American visual experience. Materials and instructions are included to complete your block. Scissors needed. Call (626) 744-7278 to reserve your fabric block quilt kit starting Feb. 8 at 9 a.m. Available while supplies last. For ages 18+.
- Hastings Peace Wreath Craft | Monday, Feb. 8, 9:30 a.m. • While supplies last
Celebrate Black History Month by creating a paper peace wreath made of hands. Sign up to reserve your craft kit starting Feb. 8 at 9:30 a.m. Available while supplies last (additional supplies needed: scissors, glue and/or stapler). For ages 5+.
- Collectibles – Notable Black Artists Buttons and Bookmarks | Monday, Feb. 8-Friday, Feb. 26, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. • While supplies last
Celebrate the contributions that Black Americans have made in the arts by collecting our commemorative buttons and bookmarks. Collect all six. Pick up to two buttons or bookmarks a week at La Pintoresca Branch Library while supplies last.
- Workshop – Crafting with Tiff & Tosh | Mondays, Feb. 8 & 22, 3 p.m. • Instagram Live
Join us and learn how to make special crafts in honor of Black History Month. Join us on Instagram Live @pasadenalibrary.
- Craft – Black History Month Take & Make: Basquiat Crown | Monday, Feb. 22–Thursday, Feb. 25, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. • While supplies last
Learn about famous African American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat then create your very own wearable Basquiat crown. Fill out this survey form starting Feb. 22 at 9:30 a.m. to reserve your kit. Limit one kit per participant. You’ll receive an e-mail when your craft kit is ready for pickup. All materials included. Available while supplies last.
- Is This Heaven? (2015) Documentary
John Preston “Pete” Hill was an American outfielder and manager in baseball’s Negro leagues from 1899 to 1925. He played for the Philadelphia Giants, Leland Giants, Chicago American Giants, Detroit Stars, Milwaukee Bears and Baltimore Black Sox. View anytime you wish at home, available through hoopla.
- Drive-in Movie: Selma (2014) PG-13 | Saturday, Feb. 20, 6 p.m. • Rose Bowl
A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965. Free (pre-registration required). View details and sign up.
Stay connected to the City of Pasadena! Visit us online at www.cityofpasadena.net; follow us on Twitter at @PasadenaGov, and Instagram and Facebook at @CityOfPasadena; or call the Citizen Service Center, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at (626) 744-7311.
This press release was produced by the City of Pasadena. The views expressed here are the author’s own.
Sankofa, a Ghanaian symbol often depicted as a bird with its head turned backward, means “go back and fetch it.” Sankofa denotes the importance of learning from the past in order to make positive progress. Understanding the role of racism in the foundation of the Episcopal Church in America will facilitate the evolution of our institutions and our theology and set us on the right path towards racial reconciliation.
White Anglicans and, later, Episcopalians were an integral part of the social and economic system of slavery in America. The southern, slave-owning class formed the financial foundation of the church; and, northern Episcopal churches remained neutral during the Civil War to keep the peace. Throughout our history, white Episcopalians desired the inclusion of blacks, and debated– mostly among themselves – about how best to make it happen.
Enslaved Africans were baptized into the Anglican Church as early as the 1600’s. They were relegated to segregated worship spaces in slave galleries and met at separate worship times. In order to adhere to Christian values while justifying slavery, Christian theology and biblical interpretation of the time had to be infused with messages of black inferiority and the spiritual benefits of servitude.
Even as others tried to use the Bible in their subjugation, black Christians internalized what Kelly Brown Douglas calls a “canon within a canon” – an early, black liberation theology in which they found courage, dignity and spiritual connection in those parts of the Bible not often emphasized in church. Further, Black Episcopalians believed in the Episcopal church as “one, holy, catholic and apostolic” – universal and available to all. They remained committed to this vision even as white religious leaders openly debated their humanity.
The commitment to an expanded vision of Episcopal worship and a need for autonomy inspired the formation of the first black Episcopal churches among the free black community. The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas opened in Philadelphia in 1794, and in 1804, Absalom Jones became the first African American to be ordained as a priest. Several other black congregations and organizations formed before the Civil War, most of which were located in the south. The larger church body was indifferent to these black congregations.
After the Civil War, there was a mass exodus of African Americans from southern Episcopal churches. Caught off guard, southern church leaders blamed the negative influence of black clergy and northern radicals for convincing black Episcopalians to leave. There was little awareness of the damaging impact of segregation on these parishioners. For black Episcopalians, the move meant independence and the ability to nurture black leadership. They were also critical of the church for not condemning slavery.
Historian Gardiner Shattuck argues that the racial segregation and paternalism of the post-Civil War era has set the stage for troubled race relations throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. White southerners fervently desired connection with African Americans but could not bear the idea of social equality with them. Nor were they comfortable with black autonomy. Northern congregations helped to educate newly freed people and provided food and clothes; however, most of these interracial relationships were based on pity and charity and not on mutual respect.
The debate about black Episcopalians came to a head when in 1882, a group of white clergy and lay leaders met in Sewanee, Tennessee for a conference. With the rise of black Episcopal churches, white southerners began to fear that a black clergyperson or bishop might lead white parishioners one day. After different efforts to block black churches from being full members in southern diocese, the group at Sewanee decided that black people should worship separately and permanently remain under the authority of a white bishop. Black Episcopal leaders immediately resisted this measure and it did not pass at convention; however, southern diocese moved independently to create ‘separate but equal’ Colored Conventions where black congregations had limited power.
Long before Sewanee, there existed a tension between the Episcopal Church and black Episcopalians. Throughout our history, black Episcopalians have been perceived as a separate group, marginal, or a “problem.” However, black Episcopalians have sought to be understood as an integral part of the church not as a special group. From early in our history, black Episcopalians have seen themselves as a corrective, working to help the church live up to its mission.
Although there is so much more to the story of the racial history of the Episcopal Church, the attitudes that were forged in slavery and institutionalized during Reconstruction remain a challenge today. To move forward with our work of racial reconciliation we have to ‘go back and fetch’ this part of our history. We must find out what attitudes remain – subtle or explicit – about black inferiority. And we must purge those practices that promote racial segregation and paternalism.
Below are suggestions to get started:
- The Church Awakens: African Americans and the Struggle for Justice – The Archives of the Episcopal Church
- The March 1994, Pastoral Letter on Racism from the House of Bishops, which definitively stated that, “Racism is totally inconsistent with the Gospel and, therefore, must be confronted and eradicated.”
- Yet with a Steady Beat: The African American Struggle for Recognition in the Episcopal Church by Harold T. Lewis Episcopalians & Race: Civil War to Civil Rights by Gardiner H. Shattuck, Jr
- Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters’ First 100 Years by Sarah L Delany, A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3: 26-29
Gabrie’l J. Atchison is missioner for administration in the Episcopal Dioceses of WNY and NWPA and congregational development director at Trinity Episcopal Church. She is a Black Feminist theologian and contributor to the Anti-Racist Devotional: Sacred Text through an Anti-Racist Lens.
Reposted From the Office of Public Affairs:
In honor of February Black History Month and Blessed Absalom Jones, the first African American priest in the Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has called for an increased understanding and commitment to the Episcopal Historically Black Colleges and University, known as HBCUs.
The Presiding Bishop invites Episcopalians “to deepen our participation in Christ’s ministry of reconciliation by dedicating offerings at observances of the Feast of Absalom Jones to support the two remaining Episcopal Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCUs): St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, NC, and Voorhees College in Denmark, SC.”
The two institutions of higher education were founded in the later 19th century as an Episcopal Church missionary venture. “These schools bring educational, economic, and social opportunity to often resource-poor communities, and they offer many blessings into the life of the Episcopal Church,” he said.
Donations to the HBCUs will provide much needed help to: offer competitive scholarships and financial aid; attract and retain exceptional faculty; support cutting-edge faculty research; install new and upgraded technology campus-wide; provide state-of-the-art classroom and athletic equipment.
“The Episcopal Church established and made a life-long covenant with these schools, and they are an essential part of the fabric of our shared life,” the Presiding Bishop noted.
Absalom Jones is celebrated on February 13 according to the Lesser Feasts and Fasts of the Episcopal Church. More background on his commemoration, and on St Augustine’s University and Voorhees College, is provided by the Office of Public Affairs.
One of the highlights of Black History Month for the Episcopal Church is remembering the Rev. Absalom Jones. In 1794 Jones founded the first black Episcopal congregation, and in 1802 he was the first African American to be ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church of the United States
Absalom Jones Observance 2021 in the Diocese of California
Saturday, February 20, 2021, 10:00 am to 11:00 am
On behalf of the diocesan African Anglican Commission and the Northern California/Vivian Traylor Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians, you are invited to the 2021 Absalom Jones Observance. The theme will be Women in Ministry with a keynote by the Rev. Jacqueline A. Thomas, Sr. Pastor, Allen Temple Baptist Church.
Other Resources on Absalom Jones:
- The Episcopal Church sponsors the Absalom Jones Fund for Episcopal HBCUs which supports two institutions affiliated with The Episcopal Church since the 1800’s.
- The Episcopal Diocese of NY is sponsoring a panel discussion, Absalom Jones and the Essential Worker: Yellow Fever 1793 – COVID 2020, Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 6:30 pm ET, 3:30 PT. This panel will discuss the importance of Absalom Jones’ work during the yellow fever epidemic of 1793. Fast-forward to the current pandemic, panelists discuss Jones’ responses to the overall crisis and lessons learned, while examining essential opportunities for strengthening community ties during these trying times.
- Lent Madness is a fun way to learn about the saints of the church during the Lenten season. Each day during Lent, two saints are pitted against each other through fascinating stories of their life and work – and the reader votes for their favorite. In this way, the field of 32 is reduced to one winner – and perhaps Absalom Jones this year!
In case you missed it, on Monday, January 18, Grace Cathedral held a forum on Martin Luther King, Jr. and Faith: Justice and Hope. This panel discussion with Clayborne Carson of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford and Eva Paterson of Equal Justice Society, was moderated by Bishop Marc. Click here for more information and to watch the forum.
Consider using the Sacred Ground program in your church. Over 50 Sacred Ground circles have been formed in the diocese with hundreds participating. More circles are starting this spring. Contact Amy Cook if you are interested in more information.